A new era of bodybuilding is upon us – the IDFA’s 2011 Pro Universe competition wasn’t just the only high-quality natural-bodybuilding event ever staged in Canada, it was the most exciting and competitive bodybuilding event Canada has had in years. The competition was divided into lightweight and heavyweight categories, each with seven competitors, and both having two competitors who were neck and neck for the first-place trophies.
In the lightweights it was Stephan Smith and Steve Duperre who were waging battle right to the very end. From the front it was Duperre’s super-wide shoulders, ultra-tight waist, and superb conditioning that had him looking like the winner. Turn to the side and Stephan’s and Steve’s upper bodies were on par, but Stephan’s legs took the lead. From the back, it was pretty much a toss-up, where they had equal strengths and very few weaknesses. Ultimately, it was Stephan Smith who was declared the winner but, frankly, either could have taken the top spot.
Rounding out the top three was Chris Gurunlian, who had the most mass and the best shape of the bunch, but who appeared a little soft and was having difficulty retaining composure under the very hot stage lights. In fact, Chris had to be taken off the stage at one point to be given water and allowed to rest before he continued competing. Chris has what it takes to win this show, but he’s going to have to brush up on his preparations to get to the next level where Stephan and Steve are. The fourth through seventh places went to Denis LeBlanc, Jesve Paratholil, Neil Flores, and Prince Tutu Akowuah, respectively.
From left to right: Neil Flores, Chris Gurunlian, Steve Duperre, Stephan Smith, Denis LeBlanc, Jesvy Paratholil, and Prince Tutu Akowuah.
The heavyweight division was something of a repeat of the IDFA’s International Pro Championships of this summer in that Erik Alstrup, Winston Johnson, and Oge Robin were the frontrunners again. What was interesting at this competition was that all had improved over previous showings, so the battle was even closer than before.
Robin was the biggest of the three and he has improved his conditioning immensely over all his previous competitions. His weakness, though, is in the legs – they’re just not as well developed as his upper body. As a result, improved or not, Oge had to settle for third place again, just like in the summer.
Some people thought the competition in the summer was extremely close between Erik and Winston. That surprised me because to my eyes Erik was the clear winner then – superior size, better definition, and far better posing and presentation. For this show, Erik had improved about 10 percent over the summer showing while Winston had improved about 20 percent in all aspects. As a result, the two were basically tied throughout, and when I stood back and watched as the judges made their decision, I turned to a neighbor and said, “Either could be declared the winner.” Still, ties have to be broken and Winston came out on top and Erik was second. This was one of the best bodybuilding showdowns I have ever seen.
Frank Apuzzo vowed to make his best showing ever – and did, nabbing the fourth-place spot. Frank has what it takes to make the top three next time. The fifth through seventh places went to Samuel Dixon, Brian Secord, and Franco Pantano respectively.
From left to right: Brian Secord, Frank Apuzzo, Erik Alstrup, Winston Johnson, Oge Robin, Samuel Dixon, and Franco Pantano.
Winston Johnson dominated over Stephan Smith during the judging for the overall title, which earned Winston the title of 2011 IDFA Pro Universe Champion. As IDFA president Shaun Campbell raised Winston’s hand in victory and the photographers snapped their shots, those in attendance who were familiar with the history of Canadian bodybuilding knew that they had witnessed one of the country’s best competitions ever.
The IDFA is now clearly Canada’s premier bodybuilding sporting organization. It is the only one that rigorously drug tests all its events to WADA-approved standards, and it not only put on one of the most exciting and competitive men’s bodybuilding events that this country has seen in years, but it also ushered in a new era for men’s bodybuilding by making natural, thoroughly drug-tested competitions the very best, because they feature the country’s top bodybuilding competitors. Congratulations to all the competitors in the 2011 IDFA Pro Universe competition, and a special mention to the new Champ, Winston Johnson – now the guy to beat in 2012.
. . . Doug Schneider, Publisher
Doug Schneider is the publisher and chief photographer for SeriousAboutMuscle.com.